When I made the deliberate decision to embrace and enter the social media world, I experienced two feelings: (1) excited in the discovery that the vast majority of tools I needed to learn and manage social media was accessible from my home office computer and (2) completely overwhelmed by the volume of information and the rapid rate at which it continues to multiply.
The reason I bring this up to people who are contemplating the wade or dive into social media, is because the feelings I experienced (and continue to experience) are universal. It is important to be prepared for the feelings that accompany an entry into social media, if simply for the purpose of recognizing them and being able to move on. The worst outcome is to feel beaten by the overwhelming information crush from the get-go. Rest assured, we’ve all felt it!
The information wave which rolled over me seemed particularly large because not only was I learning new social media tools and techniques, but I was doing it in the arena of social media where all of the gurus and wannabes crank out hourly updates. I was blogging, tweeting, using Facebook and LinkedIn, reading other blogs and e-newsletters I'd subscribed to and some I hadn't, downloading e-books, watching webinars (live or archived if I missed them) and I had a constant feeling of being behind the eight ball. Analyzing the new information, separating the wheat from the chaff, quickly became more chore than challenge. I eventually discovered that the best approach was to admit that I could not keep up, but I could still do a good job. Without reading every post or attending every available webinar, I am still able to learn an enormous amount and can still design an effective social media strategy for myself, which translates into designing effective strategies for others.
Now I feel somewhat validated in my roundabout conclusion after reading a blog post from Peter Bregman, a strategic advisor to CEOs who contributes to the Harvard Business Review blog. He wrote a blog post back in 2009 which continues to get reposted because it rings so true: Two Lists You Should Look At Every Morning. His main theme is that we must be willing to risk missing some information. We need to sharpen our focus, to actively choose to miss information, to define and accept what we are willing to give up in order to succeed. In this world of constant information streaming, ignore the urge to do it all.
As we work endlessly to use our time wisely, I highly recommend reading his helpful blog post. Peter articulates so well the overwhelming world in which we operate and the importance of developing our ability to focus on what really matters. It works in business. It works in life.